Civic Beat // Single sort recycling possible this fall

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July 16, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

A city panel has approved opening contracts that will implement single sort recycling in Minneapolis as early as this fall for 30,000 households. 

 

Two contracts will go out for proposals. The first is for 110,000 95-gallon recycling carts and the second is for processing the city’s cans, plastic, paper, glass and other recyclables. 

 

David Herberholz, the city’s solid waste and recycling director, said plans are only preliminary, but over a quarter of city households could have single sort recycling in the fall, with all remaining homes getting it by the middle of 2013. 

 

He said it’s likely that a big chunk of South Minneapolis will be first to get single sort recycling. That area, Herberholz said, has been difficult for crews because of an overabundance of plastics. Either trucks have to make more runs back to processing facilities, or a separate truck has to be sent out to collect plastics, he said. 

 

The City Council on May 25 approved the shift from multi-sort recycling to single-sort in an effort to increase the city’s recycling rate. Under the current program, residents are supposed to sort plastics, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard. This would allow them to throw everything in one bucket and wheel it to the corner.

 

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New smart phone app helps Met Council understand bicyclists’ habits 

 

The Metropolitan Council is using a new smart phone application that officials say will help them better understand where and why bicyclists are going in the Twin Cities.

 

The application is called CycleTracks and is compatible for iPhones and Androids. Once downloaded, users can record their route, explain why they made it, and then send that information to a centralized database. 

 

The application comes with a cheap price tag. Since the software was developed by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Met Council had to pay just $250 to get access to Twin Cities data from the SFCTA.  

 

Metropolitan Transportation Services Senior Planner James Andrew said the data will be used not so much to see what parts of the Twin Cities bike the most, but what routes bicyclists choose when getting to their destinations. Will people go out of their way for a designated bike lane? How far will people travel to get on a trail?

 

CycleTracks, Andrew said, will be just one of multiple methods that the Met Council uses to gather information on bike habits. 

 

 “The people who do our travel demand modeling know that this is not a representative sample,” he said. “However it’s still a useful piece of data that we can get because it can give us a sense of what types of streets and trails get used more than others.”

 

The app gives users several options for what the purpose of their trip was: commute, school, work-related, exercise, social, shopping or errand. It also tracks distance and time. 

 

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Council looks to require recycling at events

 

The city is moving forward with an ordinance that will require big block events, races and parades to offer recycling next to every trash can. 

 

According to city staff, the ordinance would effect every block party that draws more than 2,500 attendees. Usually that’s 10 to 15 events per year. It would also effect every race or parade, regardless of size. 

 

Event organizers will have to post signage that informs attendees of the recycling program. 

 

City Council Member Betsy Hodges (Ward 13) authored the measure. She said the idea was brought to her by Felicity Britton, executive director of Linden Hills Power & Light. Britton was surprised to find out that Minneapolis didn’t require recycling at events while surrounding suburbs did. 

 

“This is a small piece of a much larger vision for this city,” Hodges said.

 

Organizers from Team Ortho, the organization that puts on the Monster Dash and Get Lucky runs, among others, said at a public hearing that they support the proposal.  

 

On July 10, the city’s Transportation and Public Works Committee approved the ordinance. It will go before the full City Council on July 20.